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Tools theft – are you covered?

With Covid restrictions lifting, and people travelling again we are now finding firms are busier than ever.  Along with this comes renewed risks and one (in particular) is the theft of tools.

The theft of tools has always been an issue and the consequences of these kinds of losses can be extremely damaging for tradespeople who are often forced to delay their work until replacements can be obtained.  This could lead to no income and the risk of losing out on new projects.

A recent survey suggests that around a quarter of van drivers have been targeted by thieves stealing tools from their vans and over 50% admitted to leaving their tools in their vans overnight.  Insurance policies will normally exclude theft from vehicles overnight unless the vehicle is in a garage or secure compound, if not exclude it completely. Due to this, leaving tools in vans overnight means people are running the risk of paying for new ones themselves.

If possible, tools should be removed from vehicles overnight. If you are a contractor working on site, there will normally be cover for tools left in a secure area of the contract site. Where possible try to keep as many tools as possible on the contract site, as contract works insurance may be less onerous. 

Sometimes insurers may investigate providing cover when requested. Often this will require some additional security such as slam locks or locked toolboxes fitted to the fabric of the van, however you must tell your insurer if you will be doing this, otherwise cover will be excluded as standard.

To help try to reduce the risk, the following security measures could be implemented:

  • Remove tools from the van overnight – this can be laborious but ultimately is the safest way to ensure the tools aren’t stolen.
  • Install anti-theft products on your van, such as an immobiliser or tracker, so that thieves cannot simply drive your vehicle away.  
  • Secure your vehicles with window grills, remove items from view and, if possible, fit a tool safe in your vehicle.  
  • Document your tools: Keep and store all receipts (safely away from your tools), take photos and keep a record of their serial numbers to ensure they are traceable for the Police and to help insurance claims be processed quickly.  
  • Always try to park in busy, well-lit areas, or a garage, with the side load door and rear doors against a wall to restrict access.
  • Remove batteries and charger: Used battery-powered tools aren’t as lucrative for thieves if they don’t include the battery and charger.   
  • Invest in lockable power tools with apps: The newest professional power tools can be disabled through a smartphone app. Once locked, the tool is worthless. Milwaukee, DeWalt, and other professional tool brands have trackable and locking features. 


Should you wish to discuss tools cover further, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the team at ProAktive.

Doncaster: 01302 341 344     Sheffield: 0114 243 9914


By Peter Ryder ACIIChartered Insurance Broker & Account Executive

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